Kinda awesome how, if I put out a reminder call for Boosting the Signal posts, I can get some! Today I have a post to share with you from a fellow NIWA member who hasn’t been here before: James D. Macon. James released Purveyors and Acqurirers, Book 1 of his Phosphire Journeys fantasy YA series, in November of last year. His piece today gives a glimpse of the mysterious organization known as The Trade. What are their goals? And do their stated goals align with how they truly function? That’s the ticket, as the Interested Party investigating them discovers in this scene.
Interested Party, (IP), paced in the well-appointed room waiting for his guest to arrive. A dampened fire burned in the hearth and provided an unneeded warmth. The open window allowed a view of the rising moon. The door to the chamber opened and he saw a gentleman stylishly dressed in sky blue from head to toe, and wearing a wide brimmed hat sporting a blue feather from a bird IP did not recognize, walk in. The fellow smiled broadly and closed the door behind him.
“Hello, my name is Qwen. I am a Practitioner of the Arts and member of the Trade. I assume that you are Interested Party?” Qwen gestured with the fingers of his left hand and spoke softly, Aspscon Diatail Soni Visu.
IP stepped back. “Yes, I am. Welcome Master Qwen. I appreciate your agreeing to this interview. I am curious, did you conjure just now?”
“Only a small warding to keep our visit private.” Qwen answered pleasantly. His eyes darted about the chamber before settling on IP. Qwen said to no one in particular, “Please keep a look out for me.”
IP momentarily wondered who Qwen was talking to. IP gestured toward two chairs and eased into the one nearest him. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but tell me what you know about the Trade?”
“Well, if I go into too much detail, then I would have to kill you. Don’t worry, it would only be business.” Qwen’s smile broadened as he sat.
Startled, IP stammered, “Ah, ah, I’m sorry. I was under the impression that this would be a candid discussion.”
Qwen assumed a listening posture with his head tilted to toward his shoulder. “Oh, that’s right, he’s supposedly safe from retribution. What was the Trade Master thinking arranging this interview?”
“Perhaps we should start with you telling me more about yourself.” IP decided a subject change was in order. He could push for more information on the Trade once his subject was no longer distracted.
Qwen leaned back and crossed his legs. “Earlier I stated that I was a Practitioner. What I didn’t say is that I am also a Tzefire, a person with an affinity to the element of air.” He glanced upward. “Yes, I was about to tell him about you.” He turned back to IP. “I have been privileged to be able to associate with beings from the Terrene of Air.”
IP was starting think Qwen was a bit eccentric, or worse. “No offence, but you seem to be conversing with the space above your shoulder. It is rather distracting.”
“Lean forward please.” Qwen conjured, Praesen Adspectis. He touched IP on the forehead.
IP looked with wonder at the four creatures he saw undulating in the air above Qwen. Serpentine in shape, their supple bodies were without appendages. Heads had large oval eyes and a maw that appeared and disappeared from view. IP thought it was nice to know that Qwen wasn’t touched in the head after all. “What marvelous entities.”
“They are known in our sphere as Zephyrs, although that is not what they call themselves.” Qwen informed IP.
This is fantastic, IP thought. What a story this may turn out to be. “What is most important to you, Master Qwen?”
Qwen sat thinking for a long moment before saying, “There are a lot of wrongs being done. Some by people with good intentions. If one could right just one of them, then change for the better can happen.”
“I see.” Now was the moment to get back to the purpose of this visit, IP thought to himself. “A source told me that the Trade has begun to have dealings with children. Is this true, Master Qwen?”
“It is not what you think. There is no nefarious plot for you to dig up. The children are orphans who have been offered apprenticeships. We are only doing our part to help the underserved of Arlanda.”
“Placed in that light, you make it seem as if there is nothing needing investigation.” IP intended to look into Qwen’s claim.
Qwen leaned forward. “How would you like to interview one or more of the children? I could broach the topic with the Trade Master if you wish. Better still I suggest you discuss your concern with Matriarch Izlan at the Temple of the Ladies of Life where the children live. You could even make a donation toward the children’s education. Any amount would be appreciated.”
“I’ll get back to you on that.” IP hadn’t planned on parting with his coin and didn’t want to admit to Qwen that he wasn’t comfortable around children.
A fifth Zephyr entered the room through the open window. It flew around Qwen’s head. Qwen stood. “My apologies Master Party, but my associate has brought an important matter to my attention. We will have to reschedule. By the way, nothing we discussed leaves this chamber.” Qwen didn’t conjure. He assumed the form of a Zephyr and sped out the window accompanied by his companions.
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